Green Card Holders

Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) must meet a number of requirements  in order to obtain US citizenship. The requirements are as follows:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be a green card holder for at least 5 years
  • Continuous residence in the US as a green card holder for at least 5 years
  • Physical presence in the US for at least 30 months out of the 5 years
  • Be able to read, write and speak English
  • Have a knowledge of US history and government
  • Be a person of good moral character (a criminal record may affect eligibility)

There are a few exemptions available for the English and civics requirements listed above. An individual can be exempt from the English language requirements (but still required to take the civics test) if they are age 50 or older at the time of application and have lived as a green card holder for 20 years, or if they are age 55 or older at the time of application and have lived as a green card holder for 15 years. For the civics section of the test, an individual may be exempt if they are unable to comply with the requirements due to a physical or developmental disability, or a mental impairment.


Green Card Holders Married to US Citizens 

Green card holders who are married to a US citizen can apply for naturalization under different eligibility requirements. These include having been a permanent resident for at least three years, married to the same US citizen spouse during that time, and other residency and physical presence requirements.


Green CArd Holders in the MIlitary

The US government values the selfless commitment of foreign nationals who serve our country in the armed forces. As such, members of the military, as well as their spouses and children, may be eligible for citizenship through an expedited process. This form of naturalization may also be conducted through overseas processing, if necessary.


Citizenship Through Parents 

Foreign citizens may also obtain citizenship through their parents through two distinct pathways, one at birth and one after birth but before the age of 18. The requirements for a child to derive citizenship from a parent have changed several times since the law was enacted so eligibility is dependent on the applicable law at the time of the child’s date of birth.